First Lady Tonette Walker

Walk with Walker Campaign

By: KBJR News 1, Northland’s NewsCenter
Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Wisconsin's first lady, Tonette Walker, took to the trails in Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest today, to promote tourism in Wisconsin...on her Walk with Walker campaign.

Everyone from boy scouts to business people joined Wisconsin's first lady, Tonette Walker, on the two-mile walk on Forest Lodge Nature Trail for the first lady's Walk with Walker campaign.

"Anytime we can get people out and about and see the beautiful state and then share that with other people, it's gotta be great for tourism," Walker says.
Walker was joined by the Secretary of the Wisconsin Department of Tourism, Stephanie Klett, in order to promote lesser known sites across the state while also promoting health and fitness and tourism, a multi-billion dollar industry.

"Tourism is a 12-point-three billion dollar industry in Wisconsin and this past year it was an industry that grew one-point-either percent. So today is all about spotlighting with the first lady, the great trails that you can find in Wisconsin," Klett said.

Klett says tourism is a very important part of Wisconsin's economy, and says Governor's Scott Walker's commitment to fund it in Wisconsin will only benefit the state.

"We want to get 250 thousand jobs back. And tourism took a hit the last few years when nothing was invested into it, and it lost 10's of thousands of jobs. So our first priority is to get those jobs back."

Klett says that by increasing their marketing dollars towards tourism, the number of visitors in Wisconsin will increase," Klett said.

"We just had an increase of two-point-five million for the next year, followed by another two and a half million the year after that. So we're going to bring more visitors to the state and keep them coming back after we get them hooked," Klett says.

For many businesses in Wisconsin, money spent by tourists has an important impact on their bottom line.

Owner of Lynne Marie's Candies in Hayward, Wisconsin, says it's what sustains her business.

"Tourism is probably half to three-quarters of our business, even though our business is half retail and half whole-sale, some of our wholesale accounts are tourism based," Linquist said.

Linquist says this summer she's noticed an increase in tourist traffic, and appreciates Governor Walkers push to increase funds.

"Retail wise we are probably a little ahead this year, so I think it's a wonderful thing that he's putting more in," says Linquist.

The next Walk with Walker will take place next month, the location is still to be decided.

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